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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of June 11 - 17, 2003

Arts and Entertainment

Getting hitched 
with a twist

NTC summer production is 
interactive theatre

Express Staff Writer

It’s wedding season. Do you hear those bells and smell those bouquets being made just-so to match the hideous mauve of the bridesmaids’ dresses? Alas, weddings come equipped with in-laws, and out-laws. And where should they stay and will they—God, please—get along? Suddenly, eloping sounds like a mighty fine idea.

But not so fast.

One Sun Valley wedding will not go that route due to sheer entertainment value. Appearing at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, it’s "A Big Hitch: A Cowboy Wedding." A wedding within a play, "The Big Hitch" will be staged Sunday through Thursday evenings from June 18 through July 10.

Really, it’s "event theater" as New Theatre Company director and actor David Blampied so aptly put it. The wedding party is the cast. The guests at the wedding are you, the audience. There’s a ceremony, a reception with dancing and dinner. And there are antics.

Inspired by such interactive theater productions as "Tony & Tina’s Wedding" and "Aunt Sylvia’s Funeral," Blampied and Chris Millspaugh conceived of a show that would incorporate Sun Valley’s rich history. Millspaugh—in the guise of Dr. Spa—penned the script.

Though a long time performer in the valley, Millspaugh’s day job is the director of the Community Library’s Historical Reference section. He was able to use his expertise of the history of the valley while creating two contrasting families uniting for a Sun Valley wedding, he said.

"We mixed a twisted version of local history with a sprinkle of caricature, a pinch of stereotype and a dash of reality to create a unique theatrical event," Blampied said. "To give the families a sense of reality, the cast gathered twice—once for a potluck at the mother of the bride’s house and once for the bachelor and bachelorette parties at the Silver Dollar saloon. This afforded the cast members a chance to interact with the public as these fictitious characters."

The bride, Rainbeaux Dutton, is the daughter of a failed and jailed financier and a former B movie actress, Eva Swan Dutton from Los Angeles. A spiritual recluse, Rainbeaux’s half sister Rowena, has taken a vow of silence. The maid of honor is a man-eating tattooed rockabilly singer. Her curmudgeon of a grandfather—who’s footing the wedding bill—is, at 88, the last surviving Austrian ski instructor in Sun Valley.

Then there’s the groom, Howdy Bigamee, and his family. The Bigamees of Bellevue are notorious, thanks to his rancher father’s many romantic indiscretions. One brother is a bit of a wastrel in the cowpoking department, while his best friend, Curly, just got out of rehab. Grandma Bigamee, who raised the boys, lived a wild life in Sun Valley in the 1940s and 1950s, and has tales to tell.

The new age minister may be in love. The flamboyant caterer as well. But with whom?

Much of the show is improvisational and the audience is encouraged to participate, down to and including arrivals, trips to the facilities and dancing. In this way, "The Big Hitch" will be different each evening.

As with any proper reception, dinner—a barbecue in this case—champagne and beer will be served. A DJ—who is part of the cast—keeps the evening rolling with music to dance by, and emceeing duties.

"There will be all the wedding things around," Blampied said. "But it’s quirky and bizarre."

The ensemble includes Boise State University student and actress Lindsay Wooten as Rainbeaux, Claudia McCain, Dana DuGan, Devon Riley, J.D. Ryan, Doug Hanks, Nick Green, Harry Millspaugh, Christine Leslie, David Barovetto, Charles Rinerson, Chris Millspaugh, Lenny Joseph and Blampied as the minister.

In creating the fictitious families of a Bellevue cowboy and a California transplant who meet and fall in love at the Silver Dollar Saloon, NTC has made "a raucous comedy about us, the people of the Wood River Valley," Millspaugh said.

In appreciation of the community’s on-going support, New Theatre Company is having two locals’ nights, with reduced prices on June 18 and 19.

The seating is limited for all the shows, so NTC suggests reserving a table early. Tickets are available at Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum, Ex Libris in Sun Valley and Read All About it in Hailey, or at ticketweb.com. For group rates, call 726-2271.

Respondez vous, cuz it’s a wedding, y’all.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.